Pharrell Williams is no stranger to giving back to his community, and now, he’s doing it in an even bigger way.
The super producer is on a mission to open a new network of private schools for low-income families in the Norfolk area, according to The Virginian Pilot. This project is being done in tandem with his newly launched educational program Yellowhab, ”an independent micro-school providing customized learning pathways serving the unique needs + aptitudes of children.”
Opening in time for the Fall 2021 school year, the tuition-free private school will enroll anywhere between 40-50 students between third and fifth grade, but its educators don’t plan on abiding by regular grade school divisions. Yellowhab will instead group students together based on skill level.
“The challenge is that if you’re progressing too slow relative to some benchmark, then you’re tagged with that title ‘remedial’ or something like it,” Yellowhab Executive Director Mike McGalliard said. “And that’s detrimental to your evolving self concept, to your sense of what you can achieve. It’s oppressive, and it’s a weight kids carry.”
“If the system is fixed and unfair, then it needs to be broken,” Pharrell said. “We don’t want lockstep learning where so many kids fall behind; we want bespoke learning designed for each child, where the things that make a child different are the same things that will make a child rise up and take flight.”
In a recent interview for Town & Country Magazine, the Virginia native also revealed his plans to expand the school to major cities across the country within the next five years.